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Psalm 36: 1 – 4                  God’s Word

There is an inspired truth about the wicked person
who has rebellion in the depths of his heart:
He is not terrified of God.
He flatters himself and does not hate or even recognize his guilt.
The words from his mouth are nothing but trouble and deception.
He has stopped doing what is wise and good.
He invents trouble while lying on his bed
and chooses to go the wrong direction.
He does not reject evil.

This is an interesting psalm. It is twelve verses long; the remaining verses are in tomorrow’s Word of the Day. It is a study in contrast, as you will see. Ultimately we observe the grace of God which saves us and praise God for that. These beginning verses are beyond sad. They speak of a tragedy. David wrote this psalm so recall to your mind who his audience was. He, as I, wrote to God’s children. His psalms are an expression of what his heart experienced with the people God chose as His own. This is the lens through which you should read this psalm and this Word of the Day. We are talking about God’s kids here, not the unsaved heathen of a savage land.

The beginning of this passage in the New American Standard Bible reads, “Transgression speaks to the ungodly within his heart.” In other words, the voice of transgression is the rebellion in the heart of the one who is not wearing his godly mantle. To be ungodly is just that. We have been reborn into the family of God. That makes us godly, “of God.” However, we don’t always behave as if we are “born of God.” Sometimes we appear to the world around us the same as any unsaved person. Why is this so?

Today’s devotional is not a call to behavioral modification. It is a call to nurture and heal our hearts so that transgression does not keep us bound by its deception. See that this person has “stopped doing what is wise and good.” He used to but now he has begun to listen to a voice which is misleading him. He has allowed his heart to be corrupted; contaminated. He listens to his own counsel which has become perverted so that he no longer even recognizes his guilt much less hates it. The Amplified version says, “For he flatters and deceives himself in his own eyes thinking that his sinfulness will not be discovered and hated [by God]” (v. 2). Do you see what is happening here? It is a very important point. God is telling us that we deceive ourselves. Our own words, the words we speak to ourselves convince us as to our course of action. Do you see why this is so tragic. You cannot rescue yourself. Your wisdom and your counsel can mislead you. That is why we need Jesus and his word. Christians experience this misleading everyday all over the world. Well intentioned people have allowed a little slippage here and a little there until they no longer even see their sin. It isn’t only denial. They have become blind to it. But there is hope. There is always hope. Jesus and Yahweh have remedied every problem we have.

Have you ever heard the expression, “washed in the Word?” That comes from Ephesians 5: 26. Jesus’ words are a cleansing river. They fill us and simply wash out the old. It is not a painful process. It is like soaking in a hot tub. Grace and mercy flow in; lies and deception flow out. You cannot stand in Jesus’ presence and lie to yourself. He is truth. Fear not, though, because truth sets you free. Truth isn’t painful. It is liberating. Jesus wishes to show you the way. He is the way. He didn’t come here to accuse us but rather to save us so refresh your hope. Be renewed in joy. The root of Jesse has come to restore you and give you hope for tomorrow and the day after that and on and on.

Obviously, the big secret is abiding in the Word, Jesus and the Father. It is in being intertwined with the savior. Within his abiding presence is a host of help and tools. Do not feel alone, do not be alone. Reach out to others. Let your heart hear the truth from the Word and also from your pastor and other Christian friends. Listen to some of the most anointed preachers in the world through free internet programming. A theology which grows in isolation is rarely a healthy one. We need to hear other voices speaking into our lives. You should not be your only adviser. Reach out to others who are in the Word and share your experiences with each other. They can benefit from your voice too!

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